Caterpillar PL61: a product of metamorphosis

The Caterpillar PL61 positions a new, technically refined model at the small end of the Caterpillar pipelayer range, providing a machine with 40,000 pounds (18,145 kg) of lift-capacity and the capability to meet the pipeline contractor’s requirements for precision control, transportability, operator comfort, stability, visibility and durability.

The PL61, features a Cat C6.6 ACERT engine, closed-loop hydrostatic drive system, oval-track SystemOne undercarriage and an electronically enhanced operator station, as well as features retained from the design of the predecessor model, the 561N, such as hydraulic draw-works, two-speed load line and an extendible counterweight.

The PL61’s two-speed operation of the load-line provides high speeds for overall productivity but lower speeds for precise positioning. Oil-disc brakes in the winches positively retain selected boom and hook positions, while a combination decelerator/brake pedal can be configured to slow the machine, with or without a reduction in engine speed, for added control.

PipeLine Machinery International (PLM) Equipment Services Manager Lindley Imeson commented on the technical highlights of the PL61. “The extendible counterweight helps the operator maintain stability with heavy loads or in steep terrain and can be retracted for maximum manoeuvrability in tight right-of-ways. There are counterweight frames available for both standard-track and low-ground-pressure-track machines, and we have frame-conversion kits that allow changing between the two configurations.”

For ease of servicing, grouped pressure taps are accessible from ground level and ecology drains for engine oil, coolant and the hydraulic tank reduce the risk of spills and shorten down time. Moreover, joystick and thumbwheel controls for the boom, load-line and counterweight ensure effortless operation.

The PL61 also features the Caterpillar Product Link system, a wireless machine-tracking system, that allows two-way communication between machine systems and a manager’s desktop computer, providing information such as location, hour-metre reading, fuel consumption and system alerts.

The pipelayer’s power train and undercarriage features include: optimal combustion efficiency and fuel delivery for enhanced lugging performance and emissions control; cooling system automation, enhancing fuel economy and maintaining peak hydraulic performance in the implement and drive systems; and, reduced undercarriage maintenance costs with either standard or low ground pressure undercarriages available.

PLM President Mel Ternan said “Not only does the C6.6 engine deliver outstanding engine performance and fuel efficiency, it meets worldwide emission standards, which is a winning combination for PLM and our global customers.”

There are counterweight frames available for both standard-track and low-ground-pressure-track machines.
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